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BauMax sale rumoured to be underway

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BauMax sale rumoured to be underway
Photo: APA/HERBERT PFARRHOFER
15:13 CET+01:00
According to a report from Reuters, the troubled Austrian building supplies chain BauMax may be in the process of being sold via an Italian investment bank.

The Reuters news agency disclosed on Thursday that according to an unnamed source familiar with the matter, the Austrian company BauMax is currently subject to a deal organized by Italian investment bank Mediobanca, who are the financial advisor on the deal.

The Austrian monthly news magazine News reported that binding offers were expected by December 18th.  A BauMax spokeswoman refused to comment on the report, saying only that a restructuring process was underway to protect the group's brand and the jobs of its employees.

"We are open for talks with investors," she said, adding that the future of BauMax beyond the restructuring process had to be secured.

The chain announced the sale of its Bulgarian subsidiary to a private investor in September, and 15 shops in Romania were sold in July.

The identities of the investors in the Italian deal have yet to be disclosed.

Hans Peter Haselsteiner, CEO and owner of 25 percent of the Strabag construction group, decided to buy the modern art collection of Karlheinz Essl, owner of the ailing bauMax chain of hardware stores back in September as part of the rescue process for BauMax.

A fire-sale of parts of the Essl art collection in October through auction house Christies raised €60 million, however much more is needed to rescue the ailing retail chain, which has bank debt in excess of €638 million.

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